Volume 14, Issue 28 ~ July 13 - July 19, 2006

The Bay Gardener

By Dr. Frank Gouin

For Shapely Mums, Prune Now

There’s a reason unpruned mums are spindly

If you purchased and planted hardy chrysanthemums last fall, most likely they survived the winter and are growing well this year. However, chances are you did not divide them, and the clumps are growing tall and vigorous. If you allow them to grow too tall, they will most likely flop over this fall when they are in full bloom, due to the weight of the flowers on tall spindly stems.

By shearing off two to three inches of new growth from the top of each clump of hardy chrysanthemums and shaping each clump into a square block before July 21, you will prevent the plants from becoming too tall without preventing the development of normal-size flowers.

If you delay shearing each clump after July 21, the clumps are likely to produce abnormally small flowers, and not all of the stems will produce flowers that open at the same time.

The chrysanthemum is considered a short-day plant because it initiates its flower buds when daylight hours are less than 12 hours long. The flower buds are produced only at the tip of the new growth. This means that if you delay shearing your clumps of chrysanthemums until after July 21, the pruned stems will not be able to generate a sufficient amount of new growth by the time daylight is less than 12 hours long.

When you shear you chrysanthemums into a square block, when they flower they will appear as a round ball of flowers.

Steps to Growing the Best Sweet Corn You’ve Ever Tasted: Step 3

When the corn has formed tassels and the silk on the ears is visible, walk through the corn daily shaking the stalks to release the pollen from the tassels. Good pollination is essential for each ear of corn to be filled with kernels. To obtain a maximum yield, irrigate the corn if there is insufficient rain.

Can I Save This Tree?

Q I sure do like your column in Bay Weekly, which I clip out and save whenever it applies to my property.

I hope you can help me with the problem we're having with a cherry tree in our front yard. It was planted by previous owners too close to the house, so that the roots have been cracking up the sidewalk, and the branches brush against the garage roof and siding. This year I found suckers coming up 25 feet from the trunk. Should we prune the tree? How and how much? Or should we remove the tree?

–Lisa Petersen, Owings

A My suggestion would be to remove the tree. It is already causing several problems, and neither being too close to the house or cracking the sidewalk can be resolved by pruning.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

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